Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Isla Fuerte on the Caribbean Coast of Colombia Just Waiting to get Surfed

                                        Barranquilla surfer Roberto Marulanda at ColPipe wave

Isla Fuerte is a small green island about 10km off the coast of Colombia, which is a beach, scuba diving, snorkeling, bird watching and kayaking paradise.  

The fastest way to the island is to drive or fly to Monteria, and from there to make the 1 hours drive to the port of Paso Nueve, where one can take a boat ride (about 30 mins) to the island.

The island has the potential to become another up-and-coming surfing, windsurfing and kitesurfing destination for Colombia.

Just witness the nice reef break off Isla Fuerte that is calling you to surf it, paddle-board (SUP) it, body-board it or even windsurf it.  

The island is perfectly positioned to receive swell from the Northwest or  North, and the reef is there to help form some nice waves.  

The best wave on the island and arguably the best on the Caribbean coast of Colombia is the aptly named ColPipe

Checkout this video  produced by ZOME films of a recent surf trip in 2015 with Barranquilla body boarders Stephen Meyer, Ruben Villegas and surfer Roberto Marulanda.

Surf Trip Isla Fuerte from Zome Films on Vimeo.

For those that want to make the trip to Isla Fuerte, here are some lodging options:
  1. Estado Natural Lodge  >>> International Press - National Geographic, Viva Travel Guides
  2. Isla Fuerte Ecolodge-Diving Center >>> Review - TripAdvisor
  3. Hotel Mar Abierto
  4. Hotel Marduk

Geographic Location of Isla Fuerte:

Location of ColPipe surfing wave:

Following Photos by Luis Chahin:

Isla Fuerte surfing, Colombia

Cartagena, A great Windsurfing Destination

***All pictures by Michael Rossmeier***

Cartagena really is a hidden gem in the windsurfing world.

The Caribbean city which is a UNESCO Heritage to Humanity site and a frequent Cruise ship stop, gets consistent wind from December to April and sometimes even some very decent wave action…. which makes the Colombian windsurfing, surfing and kitesurfing community very happy!

Waves (sometimes even reaching mast high) hit Cartagena due to the "Mar de Leva" effect.

The "Mar de Leva" effect is a weather phenomenon affecting the Caribbean coasts of Colombia and Venezuela, which consists of an abnormal increase in wave height caused by wind blowing over the surface of the ocean over long distances. It occurs when bad weather patterns in the Caribbean (low pressure) push the ocean waters towards the coast, creating strong waves and shorepound.

The size of the waves depends on how far, how fast and how long the winds blow. In essence, The "Mar de Leva" effect is the end-result of bad-weather systems created when Polar Fronts hit the Caribbean and make their way through it. The initial movement of the Polar Fronts is toward the southeast, eventually reaching northern latitudes of 15 ° or less. As the Polar Fronts enter the Caribbean, they bring strong winds and waves, which end up making their way through the Caribbean area. The conclusion to these Polar Fronts, is the "Mar de Leva" (or wind-generated waves, fetch) hitting the coasts of Colombia and Venezuela.

In Colombia, the "Mar de Leva" effect occurs during the dry or windy season of December to April, although statistics show that it almost always happens in January and February, and sometimes also in March. The "Mar de Leva" usually lasts 48 hours, with it's beginning usually being more intense than it's end, and it's force can be double-enhanced by the North / Northeast trade winds that are already prevalent in Colombia during these winter / dry months. It is calculated that the "Mar de Leva" effect can happen up to 4 times in only one month.

Here is an example from February 5th 2009, when a "Mar de Leva" effect hit the Colombian Caribbean coast, bringing in mast high waves coupled with 4.7 (25 to 35 knot) winds.

Austrian windsurfer Michael Rossmeier happened to be in Cartagena doing some winter freestyle training and working on his "Tricktionary" DVD, which can be obtained at http://www.tricktionary.net/

Here are some pictures of Michael and other Colombian windsurfers enjoying the wind and waves off the MOKANA windsurfing club beach.

If you are interested in windsurfing rentals, lessons or even adventure trips, get in contact with the guys at the MOKANA Club:

This main site gives rental / lesson prices for windsurfing, surfing, paddle boarding, kayak: MOKANA Club

Here is the other blog site to organize adventure trips with them: MOKANA VENTURA

Rossi doing some nice cutbacks:

A view of Cartagena:

Rossi in front of a mast high wave:

Nice jump:

Rossi throwing a "Ponch" off the wave:

Coming in on the wave:

Here is a video of windsurfing and kitesurfing during the Mar de Leva, in front of the
Mokana Beach in Cartagena, Colombia:

Mar de Leva Waves Destroy Historic Pier of Puerto Colombia

Here's another example of the "Mar de Leva" effect wreaking it's havoc on the Colombian caribbean coast.
On March 7th, 2009 the historic pier of Puerto Colombia was destroyed by high winds and strong waves.
After already 3 days of constant high winds and swells, a stretch of some 200 meters (656 feet) long of its more than 500-meter (1,640-foot) length collapsed, and floated into the sea.
Residents of the Puerto Colombia municipality said that the destruction of the pier “is the loss of a great part of the history” of this coastal town, which had made it “the trading port” of the nation, and which during it's glory years received many of Colombia's jewish, german, lebanese, italian and other European immigrants.
The Pier of Puerto Colombia near Barranquilla was inaugurated June 15, 1893 and was built by Cuban architect Francisco Javier Cisneros.

Here are some pictures from that day courtesy of iguanamar.com:

Rock Al Parque is the Largest Free Rock Festival in Latin America

Pictures from Vive.in

Rock al Parque (Rock in the Park) 2009 was this past weekend in Bogota.

This is the largest Free rock festival in all of Latin America.

This is another example of the amount of cultural activities that are available in Colombia.

Check out this link with videos of all the international, Colombian, and Bogota bands that played in the festival.

Click here, then on "Bandas" in this page:
Rock al Parque Bands

Also, here is a link my childhood friend's (Christian Focke) band..."The Devil's Rejects" that played in the festival:

The Devil's Rejects

Colombian Museum Hosts Largest Exhibition Ever in Latin America of Andy Warhol's Works

From: http://www.artdaily.org/index.asp?int_sec=2&int_new=31593

BOGOTA.- The exhibition, organized by Museo de Arte del Banco de la República in conjunction with the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh and curated by Philip Larratt-Smith, offers a complete panorama of the work of this fertile artist and it is the largest exhibition ever organized in a Latin American museum. The list of works of art comprises 26 paintings, 57 silk screens, 39 photographs and 2 installations (‘Silver Clouds’ and ‘Cow wallpaper’). Fourteen of his films will also be screened at the Fundación Gilberto Alzate Avendaño. Andy Warhol, Mr. America explores all aspects and periods from this multi-facetic production from this artist, with a particular emphasis in the period between 1961 and 1968. It was during the 1960s that Warhol began to make paintings of iconic American products such as Campbell's Soup Cans from the Campbell Soup Company and Coca-Cola bottles, as well as paintings of celebrities such as Marilyn Monroe, Troy Donahue, and Elizabeth Taylor. He founded "The Factory," his studio during these years, and gathered around himself a wide range of artists, writers, musicians, and underground celebrities. He began producing prints using the silkscreen method. His work became popular and controversial. Among the imagery tackled by Warhol were dollar bills, celebrities and brand name products. He also used as imagery for his paintings newspaper headlines of photographs of mushroom clouds, electric chairs, and police dogs attacking civil rights protesters. Warhol also used Coca Cola bottles as subject matter for paintings. New York's Museum of Modern Art hosted a Symposium on pop art in December 1962 during which artists like Warhol were attacked for "capitulating" to consumerism. Critics were scandalized by Warhol's open embrace of market culture. This symposium set the tone for Warhol's reception. Throughout the decade it became more and more clear that there had been a profound change in the culture of the art world, and that Warhol was at the center of that shift. A pivotal event was the 1964 exhibit The American Supermarket, a show held in Paul Bianchini's Upper East Side gallery. The show was presented as a typical U.S. small supermarket environment, except that everything in it from the produce, canned goods, meat, posters on the wall, etc. were created by six prominent pop artists of the time including the controversial (and like-minded) Billy Apple, Mary Inman, and Robert Watts. Warhol's painting of a can of Campbell's soup cost $1,500 while each autographed can sold for $6. The exhibit was one of the first mass events that directly confronted the general public with both pop art and the perennial question of what is art. As an advertisement illustrator in the 1950s, Warhol used assistants to increase his productivity. Collaboration would remain a defining (and controversial) aspect of his working methods throughout his career; in the 1960s, however, this was particularly true. One of the most important collaborators during this period was Gerard Malanga. Malanga assisted the artist with producing silkscreens, films, sculpture, and other works at "The Factory", Warhol's aluminum foil-and-silver-paint-lined studio on 47th Street (later moved to Broadway). Other members of Warhol's Factory crowd included Freddie Herko, Ondine, Ronald Tavel, Mary Woronov, Billy Name, and Brigid Berlin (from whom he apparently got the idea to tape record his phone conversations). During the 60s, Warhol also groomed a retinue of bohemian eccentrics upon whom he bestowed the designation "Superstars", including Edie Sedgwick, Viva, and Ultra Violet. These people all participated in the Factory films, and some, like Berlin, remained friends with Warhol until his death. Important figures in the New York underground art/cinema world, such as writer John Giorno and film-maker Jack Smith, also appear in Warhol films of the 1960s, revealing Warhol's connections to a diverse range of artistic scenes during this period.

SURFING Cartagena, Colombia

A nice wave in "Castillo" in Cartagena. Coverage in: Revista Don Juan

Believe it or not, Cartagena gets some really good surf. You initially wouldn't think so, since Cartagena is in the Caribbean, but as described in my posts on the Mar de Leva Effect, some nice waves do make it to the Colombian Caribbean coast in the winter months.

If you are interested in surfing in Cartagena and you do not have your surfboard, get in contact with the guys at the MOKANA Club. They do surfing lessons and rentals. In addition they also do lessons and rentals for windsurfing, StandUP Paddle surfing (SUP), and kayaking.

At MOKANA AVENTURA(part of Mokana Club) they also organize customized adventure travel to several key beaches, reefs, and islands.

For now, also check out this video put together by Cartagena surfers:

Michael Rossmeier Windsurfing Cartagena Colombia

Professional Austrian windsurfer Michael Rossmeier trains in Cartagena during the harsh Austrian winters. Here he is in front of the MOKANA Club beach in Cartagena throwing a Ponch.

Rossi throwing a shove-it

Double-Flaka in Cartagena:

Rossi breaks his board on a front-loop attempt:

Extreme Sports in Santander, Colombia

Check out some videos of Bike Trial Santander X-tremo 2009 as reported by Elspectador.com

Also, here is some Paragliding in Santander as well:

Sunday, June 28, 2009

King of the Jungle Nuqui Latin Pro Surfing Contest Held in Colombia

Story and pictures from official contest website at http://www.nuquilatinprocolombia.com/

In November 2008, The Nuqui LATIN PRO COLOMBIA "Surf the Jungle" event was held in Nuqui on the Pacific coast of Colombia.

The surfing was done on the "Pico de Loro" break, which is a left that was discovered a few years ago by the organizers of the event. The wave breaks over a rounded rock reef, and it works best in low tide, although it can be surfed in all tides, especially if the swell reaches heights of 5 feet or more. Swells from the southwest work best, and these predominate from December to April. Wave periods of 13 seconds are the most common, but sometimes they can last up to 22 seconds.

The "Surf the Jungle" event, was supported by "Colombia es Pasion" tourism campaign, sponsored by VANS, El Cantil Eco-Lodge, Tavarua Surf Shop and the Colombian Department of Tourism.

Important Latin Americans who are competing for the top rankings of the Latin American championship competed hard for first place and the $USD 17,500 in prizes.

Francisco Bellorin, Ernesto Nunes and Diego Cadena (who leads the ALAS ranking) fought a strong battle to get a lead over their direct rivals, but in the end the Peruvian Sebastián Alarcón and Puerto Rican Gabriel Escudero were in the final, where the Peruvian took the victory.

Both men fought for 25 minutes in spectacular waves of 3 to 5 feet. The Brazilian Ernesto Nunes got the third place and this is placed better for absolute Tour title. The final ranking ALAS is now a competitor in Costa Rica where they will be contesting the title of Latin American Surf Champion

In the Junior category, the leader of the Tour, Bellorín Francisco, took the victory for his native Venezuela. Dylan Southworth (MEX) took second place while the Venezuelans, Jesus Chacon and Rafael Pereira, were in the 3rd and 4th position.

Here are 2 videos of the event produced for Peruvian TV.

Part 1:

Part 2:

Saturday, June 27, 2009

SURFING Colombia: Pro Surfers Enjoy Nuqui in Pacific Coast of Colombia


Professional surfers Kalle Carraza, Otto Flores, Magnum Martinez and Peter Mendia went surfing in Nuqui on the Colombian Pacific coast,with Transworld Surf photographer Seth Stafford there to document.

The surfers and photographer made the trip from the United States to Medellin, Colombia.
From Medellin, they took a airplane to the the small town of Nuqui in the pacific coast where they were met by their guide…. Memo Gomez….owner of "El Cantil" ecolodge.

Nuquí is located on the Gulf of Tribuga in the Colombian Pacific. It is a traditional village of the Choco region, with beautiful beaches surrounded by tropical jungles. Nuqui is a paradise for surfers, ornithologists, divers, fishermen, hikers, artists, poets, and anyone who loves nature.

Between July and November, humpback whales arrive in Chocó’s warm and tranquil waters to breed and give birth to their young.

From Nuqui airport, the surfers were transported to "El Cantil", which is an environmentally-friendly ecolodge with several wooden cabins set among the lush jungle, and in front
of a black sand beach.

The cabins don't have electricity, and there is only one outlet in the whole place that is runned by an generator powered by a nearby river stream. The electricity generator is only used from 6pm to 10pm, so Seth had to use this time wisely to charge up his camera and computer.

During the week, Memo took the surfers to some of Colombia's best breaks such as 'Pico de Loro' (Parrot's beak), "Pela Pela" and "Cabo Corrientes" (El Chorro), which are only reachable
by propeller boat, about 45 minutes from the Ecolodge.

  • "Pela Pela" (Peel Peel) is a powerful left very close to the shore which is very hollow.
    When the swell is big, take care of where you leave the boat. Very good for pics from the beach or boat.

  • "El Chorro" near Cabo Corrientes is a powerful right in a unique spot.

  • "Pico de Loro" is probably Colombia's most famous left.

Photos by Seth Stafford:

"El Chorro" surf break in Cabo Corrientes is a powerful right

Surfing at "Pico de Loro" break

Natural waterfall

At the cabin

The Pacific comes alive as a surfer watches on

Hanging out at "El Cantil" ecolodge

"El Chorro" in Cabo Corrientes

El "Chorro" is a nice right hander

Peter Mendia cutback at "El Chorro"

Group picture

Now, watch the videos of the trip:

ZOO YORK Skateboard Team skates the streets of Medellin, Colombia

The Zoo York skateboarding team (including Zared Basset and Donny Barley) was in Medellin, Colombia ripping up the streets.

The team was able to obtain a special permit to skate the "Parque de las Luces" (Park of the Lights) so they would not get hassled by security guards.

They also skated the Metro stations, and a nice bowl at the top of a mountain.
Check out this video from the trip:

Italian Salvo Basile becomes Colombian Citizen

Italian born but Colombian at heart, Salvo will soon debut his Colombian passport and citizenship.

Salvo travelled to Cartagena with Marlon Brando at the end of the sixties as part of the film crew for "Burn". He was amazed by the beauty of the colonial city, and after seven months of shooting, he fell in love with his wife Jacqueline Lemaitre (and mother of his children Alexandro and Gerónimo), and decided to stay.

He says, the news took him by surprise, although he knew that at some point it was going to happen….. "I am here, like rice with coconut."
When he first arrived to Colombia almost, he worked as the Director of Special effects for "Burn". One time he did too good of a job of making it appear that the Palace of Inquisition was burning down. "It was unforgetable because people were running around, and even the Fire Department made an appearance thinking it was a real fire."
The Colombian Foreign Ministry confirmed the news of his citizenship, to this lover of cinema, the good life and all the arts. "I consider myself an undocumented Colombian, this is the work of my friends who always told me I had to get it before I forgot to speak Italian", said Basile.
Salvo Basile waits in his colonial house located in the historic downtown in Calle de la Mantilla, to formalize his new nationality. What I like about my new status is that it will give me the opportunity to discuss many things and be part of the political process in Cartagena, so that I can work formy Cartagena compatriots, says the 69 year old.

***article translated from

Kitesurfing Cartagena

There's good kite surfing in Cartagena.

Here's a video of the "International Kitesurfing Championship" featuring
Jean-Paul Liechtl (Colombia), Armando Sierra (Colombia), Rafael Leo (Venezuela), Brian Greenvald (USA), Etienne Enote (France)

Armanda Sierra is a really good Colombian kitesurfer. Check out this video of him ripping it up in Cartagena.

Hay Festival in Cartagena - Jan 29 - Feb 1, 2009 gathers the world's top writers

From: The Examiner by Liliana Dones

Within the romantic walls of Cartagena de Indias, the magical and magnificent colonial fortress city on Colombia's Caribbean coast, the MAPFRE Hay Festival will begin its 4th Annual convention of some of the world's greatest writers from January 29 through Feb. 1st. The Hay Festival / Cartagena is a direct offshoot of the Hay-on-Wye Festival, founded in the town of the same name (thank me for not using "eponymous") in Wales by British actor and director Peter Florence, in 1988.

This year's Hay Festival / Cartagena will bring scores of writers who will convene to share ideas, among them, Salman Rushdie, president of the prestigious US Pen Club, but still probably best known for the Satanic Verses. Rushdie, whose latest novel, The Enchantress of Florence, will be published to coincide with the 2009 Cartagena Hay Festival, will hold a conversation with writer Eduardo Lago, director of the New York Cervantes Institute.

Professor Lago will also conduct a conversation with Junot Díaz, author of the highly celebrated The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, and winner of the 2008 Pulitzer Prize.

Other highlights among the scores of writers in attendance include Luis Sepúlveda, the Chilean author of the bestseller, The Old Man Who Read Love Stories; Mexican Alberto Ruy Sánchez, a well-known editor and writer, author of more than twenty books of essays, poetry, short stories and novels will converse with Luis Fayad and Leyla Bartet about "the Arab element in our writing/literatures;" Fernando R. Lafuente, Marianne Ponsford y Manuel Rodríguez Rivero in conversation with Pablo Jiménez Burillo on a "criticism of cultural criticism."

The British biographer, Gerald Martin, author of the ‘tolerated biography’ of Gabriel García Márquez, recently published in the United Kingdom, talks to Mario Jursich, director of the magazine, El Malpensante, about the more than 20 years he spent researching the biography of the Nobel Prize winner.

Martin Amis, the highly celebrated of British author of novels including, Money, Time’s Arrow, and most recently, House of Meetings, also a literary critic whose work appears in The Times, The Guardian and The New York Times, will be in conversation with Peter Florence, director of the Hay Festival, who started it all back in 1988.

Opening the Festival on Thurs 29 Jan, 12:30 will be Miguel Bosé and Juanes "Musicians in solidarity." The highly popular Miguel Bosé, a top-selling musician in Europe and South America, and actor in films by Pedro Almodóvar and Vicente Aranda, and the even more popular Juanes, ‘the most important figure in Latin music’ according to the Los Angeles Times, (winner of 12 Latin Grammys and included on Time magazine’s list of ‘The World’s 100 Most Influential People)’, talk to Roberto Pombo, director of El Tiempo, about their work with different NGOs.

Speaking of musicians-- there will be plenty of music-- a concert by the London-based group, Asian Dub Foundation, will feature their special mix of dub, drum and bass, reggae, punk, traditional Indian tunes, African instruments and rap; dance music that is committed to harmony among cultures, social change and dialogue from a critical and conciliatory viewpoint, underlining the interracial character of music. These “rappers with a cause”, as they have been dubbed by The Guardian newspaper, have played for audiences of 100,000 people, composed an opera about the Libyan leader Qadafi and created an non-profit organization, ADFDE, through which they teach music to marginalized young people.

Another headline concert will be given by Sarah Jane Morris, described by The Observer as ‘much more than a style, she is a force of nature,’ and as the ‘Queen of Jazz-Soul’ (Vogue, Italy) featuring blues, jazz and soul, accompanied by the guitarist Dominic Miller.

All conversations will be simultaneously translated from Spanish to English. Tickets can be purchased directly from the Box Office at the Teatro Heredia in Cartagena de Indias. Most events are 10,000 pesos (around $4.50 USD).

You have a week to book a flight, so get going!

Cartagena Wins in the Press

Cartagena is nominated for 29 Best Cities to Live In 2009 by Askmen.com

By the way, Conde Naste likes this Sleeping Beauty.

Irish lass Ondine also fancies it, and put her on her Travel Wishlist for 2009

NYtimes, about times go yourself down here, huh? But only for 36 hours.

Hey Foodies, go get some grub in Cartagena. Check out the foodshow.

My friend, Mr. Bourdain gets himself some ceviche.

***If below video doesn't play here, then right-click with mouse and pick "Watch on YouTube***